2010: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) kicked off the process to strengthen their collaboration to enhance ecosystem management in developing countries. The collaboration was seen as a coming together of two agents of change – China as one of the most important emerging economies in the world, possessing vast experiences, knowledge and technology on ecosystem management, and UNEP as the leading agency in the United Nations system on environmental issues.

2011: UNEP-International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP) was officially launched as an international programme, co-sponsored by UNEP and CAS, with political support of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) of China.

2012: After one year of operation, an agreement was signed by UNEP and CAS that transformed UNEP-IEMP from an international programme to the first UNEP collaborating centre “in the South and for the South”.

2013: UNEP Governing Council recognized and blessed UNEP-IEMP. Entering its development phase (2013-2015), the Centre held its first Steering Committee meeting and launched its first full-sized GEF project Ecosystem-based Adaptation through South-South Cooperation (EbA South), a joint initiative of UNEP and the National Development and Reform Commission of China (NDRC).

2014: UNEP-IEMP turned a new leaf in advancing the global agenda on South-South Cooperation on Climate Change (SSCCC), notably through facilitating the signing of a MoU between China and UNEP. The first SSCCC Forum was organized on the sidelines of COP20 of UNFCCC in Lima.

2015: UNEP-IEMP completed the development of its Flagship Programme on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CEL), which was re-viewed by its Science Advisory Group and approved by its Steering Committee.